One of the most common questions we see is whether one of these outweighs the other in benefits. Many people try to compare the two, but doing so isn’t entirely accurate. Instead of searching Sunday Riley Good Genes vs. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Serum, let’s talk why they can’t be compared.
Sunday Riley Good Genes vs. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Serum
Lactic acid and glycol acid don’t actually function the same way. They come from the same family, so you’re not necessarily comparing apples to oranges, but more like gala apples to Macintosh apples. Both are great products with quality ingredients that deliver serious skin results. We’ve been alternating between the two for months now, and we don’t plan on letting go of either. (Because, again, they work differently.)
Lactic acid and glycolic acid are both from the same family, called alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs). Because of this, they do have similarities. They both increase moisture in the skin (they’re humectants) and they both increase cell turnover aka exfoliate the skin. The differences, however, make it so you can’t truly put them head to head.
Size does matter
Molecular-wise, glycol acid is smaller compared to lactic acid. This allows it to penetrate the skin easily and a little deeper than lactic acid. Not only that, it’s probably the most popular and most researched acids of its family. Some studies show that glycolic acid amps up the collagen production in the skin–because of how deep it penetrates. As you may know,collagen is what keeps your skin looking plump, bouncy, and firm (among other things). (All that to say, glycolic acid can reduce wrinkles at a deeper level.)
The only issue with being a small molecule and having that ability to penetrate deeper, glycolic acid can be very irritating to some people. On the contrary, lactic acid is a larger molecule that is less likely to irritate.
Lactic acid, due to its size, tends to do its thing on the surface of the skin. That includes removing dead skin ells and drawing moisture into the skin to keep it hydrated. It actually hydrates more than glycolic acid so if you have dry sensitive skin, this will totally get the job done.
All that to say, glycolic acid helps break down the glue between the cells at a deeper level, whereas lactic acid does it on the surface of the skin. Lactic acid has a better ability to draw moisture from the environment and keep it on the surface of the skin.
But, like, which one should I get?
Either one, or both if you’re fancy! You can’t go wrong with AHAs in your life because you’re bound to get glowing skin, regardless. If you have sensitive skin that’s dry or dehydrated—go for the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment ($135). If your skin is used to chemical exfoliants and you want radiant skin while working on reducing fine lines and wrinkles, the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Serum ($164) is a must. We truthfully recommend both, so you can get that surface exfoliation, as well as those skin deep results.
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FTC: these products were sent for consideration; all opinions are our own.